The Cyber Security Skills Your Business Needs

Malware infections and cyber attacks have significantly grown in frequency over the last few years, highlighting the need for the protection of sensitive data and safeguarding against malicious attacks more than ever before. For this reason, an increasing number of companies are now focused on hiring professional and experienced cyber security personnel that will keep their data and their business safe. But unlike many other job descriptions, the requirements of a good cyber security expert aren’t quite clear to many employers, especially the less tech-savvy ones. To help you hire the best people and ensure you’ve made the right decision, here are some of the most crucial cyber security skills to look for:

 

Cloud security

If you’re currently looking at cloud solutions for running applications and storing data, you will need qualified individuals who have knowledge of the underlying infrastructure behind this model, as well as how to incorporate authentication and identity management. As a high percentage of cloud breaches happen due to stolen credentials, individuals who understand efficient tactics will help you manage the cloud more securely, and identify and monitor potential schemes. In terms of business, it’s also beneficial to have someone who understands the clauses in contracts with cloud service providers, particularly in terms of your security responsibilities in the agreement.

 

Threat intelligence analysis

While there are a wide array of threat intelligence tools currently available on the market, individuals who can utilize them properly, along with analyzing and contextualizing trends in threats, are not that easy to come by. Many businesses have difficulties finding people with this specific skill set, and often even more challenges properly training them, as this job usually requires curiosity, great analytical capabilities, as well as the ability to handle critical pressure. Threat intelligence professionals also need to be talented in terms of analyzing digital forensics and have great programming skills, particularly when it comes to Python. Additional incident response experience might also be of help in this area.

 

Application security development

Your business also needs security employees who are proficient in DevOps operations, and are able to closely work with your software engineering teams. As engineering professionals are often more focused on the functionality of the product rather than its security, good communication skills can be quite important in this area. Similarly, security personnel also needs to be flexible and adaptable, as application security development doesn’t normally fall under their scope of work and direct control. Because security professionals tend to be more focused on protecting from breaches instead of building security solutions into products, adapting to new security culture and mindset could be of benefit here as well.

 

Networking & IT

Computer
A computer is next to the padlock

You can’t expect to defend a network if you don’t understand how it operates. As this is one of the most important required skills, it’s recommended to take a professional cyber security course that will allow you to develop the foundational skills in networking and IT, and understand the best practices. Whether you take a course yourself or even ask one of your IT employees to expand their knowledge, having certified credentials will give you the opportunity to improve your security skills, configure devices and operating systems, troubleshoot and solve service problems, and implement the best security protocols, all while improving your soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

 

Penetration testing

Individuals with penetration testing (or red teaming) skills need to be forward and direct types. They should be able to confidently walk into companies, point out exactly what is broken, and offer solutions for fixing those issues. Years of specialized training and previous experience are typically needed to perform this job well, which is why you might have difficulties finding such professionals as well. Keep in mind that the best penetration testers like to believe they could hack virtually anything. It takes plenty of boldness and confidence to perform this job, but the work also requires extensive skills and knowledge gained in classrooms, interactive seminars, as well as previous job opportunities.

 

Access & identity management

A significant percentage of breaches are thought to be caused by weak, compromised, and reused passwords. To that end, your business also needs a professional who is able to explain potential threats to other employees and teach them ways of improving password practices, such as using authenticator applications or biometrics like face ID and fingerprints in their everyday office work. Your company will also require skilled individuals who will be able to implement user access review software, as well as configure and manage networks efficiently, in order to protect your business against intruders. Experts in this field should define access levels to specific data sets and set privileges correctly tailored to employee responsibilities and defined roles.

 

Remote computing

After the recent remote working requirements, many security teams spent their time introducing VPNs and managing Remote Desktop Protocol servers in order to allow employees to seamlessly access corporate data and applications even from home. Whether your company is slowly going back to in-office work or even adopting a hybrid working model, chances are high not all employees will be in the workplace just yet. If that’s the case, your business will also need security personnel that understands RDP servers and VPNs, helping your employees to segment their home networks for higher security.

 

Risk and compliance auditing

The skills and capabilities that are necessary for this area will likely depend on the industry you operate in. For instance, any company working in the medical field should understand HIPAA compliance for protecting sensitive data, while e-commerce businesses will need to comply with PCI DSS regulations. Depending on your location or the areas in which you operate, you might also have to comply with the EU’s GDPR or California’s Consumer Privacy Act. In either case, you will need skilled professionals who are able to assess non-compliance risks and understand which security protocols to implement and what paperwork to file, in an effort to allow your company to comply with necessary regulations.

With cybercrime continuously on the rise and a lack of privacy presenting an increasing threat to companies worldwide, your business would do well investing in cyber security. The cyber skills mentioned above are some of the most essential aspects to look for when hiring the best, most highly qualified security personnel.

6 Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Legit Business

The Chinese philosopher Confucius once famously said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” These ancient words of wisdom are probably more relevant today than in the time they were first ushered in.

In this day and age, most people need to tackle more than one job to get to the end of the month. With the things as they are, why wouldn’t you try to monetize hobbies you hold dear and try to make your passion a source of income?

Here, we are going to quickly go through a couple of steps that will get you to the finish line.

 

Test the concept

Although most hobbies like cooking, art, and artisanship can be monetized in one way or another, not every business idea is equally viable. So, use your friends and family to test whatever may be crossing your mind at the moment. This “soft launch” will help you to learn more about your professional weaknesses, iron out some of the wrinkles from your business model, develop ideas even further, and hit the market confident in what you are doing. Of course, all these efforts should be performed as a side-gig. A full-scale launch should be postponed until you are sure of the concept and have solid two years of savings put on the side.

 

Write a thorough business plan

Essentially, the business plan is a blueprint for your future business. This document outlines your company’s short-term and long-term goals, business structure, sources of income, expenses, market projections, and other topics vital for the development of one company. Although it requires a great deal of effort, a business plan is an excellent reference point for all of your future efforts, as well as a tool you will use to pitch your idea to potential investors. Starting a company requires a lot of money, and no one will be willing to buy into your ideas if they are not backed up by some data.

 

Get yourself a domain

Domain search
A typewriter was used to write “Domain search,, on a piece of paper that is placed in it

We are living in a digital age, so earning any kind of money off your hobby can’t be imagined without registering an appealing website that will serve as the launching pad for your marketing efforts. Hobbies and artisanship are inherently interesting, attractive, and passion-driven, so you can only benefit by blogging about your personal experiences and what made you fall in love with the hobby in the first place. Of course, you can always go one step further and get yourself a .me personal domain that will double down on that unique experience. People are emotional beings, and they beg for a good story behind their products.

 

Set up the business for growth

Who knows, maybe you are going to experience a real boom much sooner than you expected. So, be prepared to use opportunities as they come with as little growing pains as possible. For a start, use business tools that allow scalability. Do you want to get some new features? Just subscribe for a service. Don’t need it anymore? Unsubscribe. Also, be sure to always have access to drop-in workers. For instance, you may get some huge catering gig, and you don’t want to keep additional workers full-time. See if you can cut a deal with some local restaurant to “borrow” an extra pair of hands when you need them the most.

Infographic created by Clover Network, a retail POS company

Develop a focused marketing plan

No matter whether you want to become a successful blogger or get into aromatherapy, your goal is the same – offer the product to the people who need it. So, stop knocking on the doors that will never be opened. Instead, you should have a very clear idea about the people who need your product and focus all of your efforts on them. Do your homework, perform thorough market research and see what channels work best for the people you want to win over. The same goes for the voice you are going to use. Corporate events and birthday parties may use the same food, but we are talking about two completely different audiences.

 

Measure your progress

Making progress is hard if you don’t know the direction in which you are heading. Roughly translated to the business lingo – you should really find some way to measure how well you are doing at the moment. You will do that by identifying some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) relevant for your company and trying to learn as much as possible about them before you finally launch the business. Granted, this can be pretty exhausting and tiresome, but great companies are built on hard work and compromises. Hitting the market without the tools to measure if you are actually doing well is a far, far worse outcome.

We hope these few suggestions gave you some general idea about the steps you need to take to turn your hobby into a full-scale profitable venture. We are living in a time when earning enough is hard, and time for doing the things you actually like is few and far between. Why wouldn’t you then try to earn by doing the things you like? Give it a shot – you have very little to lose and very much to gain.

 

 

 

4 Methods To Increase Your Amazon Conversion Rate FOR FREE

Explore different methods to increase your Amazon store’s conversion rate while minimizing the cost involved. Keep reading to find out!

For years, Amazon – the world’s biggest e-commerce platform – has offered an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to make profits. But recently, this goal has been increasingly difficult due to the rising competition within the website, where more than 9.7 million sellers are launching their businesses.

If you are new to the industry and would like to convert the existing traffic into loyal customers with a limited budget, you might as well try out the free-of-charge techniques below. This way, you can dial down the expense and make sure the strategies do not cost a fortune!

 

What Is Conversion Rate?

Conversation rate
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who decided to buy a particular product from your listing after viewing it.

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who decided to buy a particular product from your listing after viewing it. To calculate the conversion rate, simply divide the number of orders by the total visits you get within a fixed timeframe.

This formula is also applied to Amazon conversion rate, which measures the sales made solely from the platform. Needless to say, the higher your conversion rate is, the more lucrative your business has become.

Despite having no universal standard for what constitutes a good conversion rate, most experts agree that a typical Amazon seller account should aim for roughly 4-6%.

This statistic is heavily influenced by the clickthroughs from users, the quality of SEO, how effective ad campaigns are, as well as pricing. Thus, it makes sense to curate all of these aspects and ensure your Amazon store has an edge over its rivals.

 

4 Free-Of-Charge Ways To Increase Amazon Conversion Rate

Optimize the ad copy

When customers first drop by your main web page, the first thing they notice is arguably the text. Hence, making the ad copy readable, scannable, and informative enough for shoppers should be your top priority.

Headline

If written properly, headlines will strike a good impression with your target audience and raise the visibility of your product. Therefore, you should try to include as many details about what you have to offer as possible.

The name of the product and the brand itself are two indispensable factors that must come first. Next up, give potential buyers a brief of the item by adding more about the size, capacity, color, package, material. If needed, you can even add a few unique selling points of your item.

Still, it is worth remembering that Amazon only allows a title to be under 250 characters. You might want to avoid cramming and stick to the most important bits.

Bullet points

As the name already indicates, bullet points are where you can display the most distinctive features of your product in short texts.

It is best that you group similar traits into one umbrella category (such as safety, comfort, powerful performance, etc.) and dedicate each bullet point to quickly capture why customers should choose this item from your store.

Product description

Product description
Product description enables store owners to dive deeper into the characteristics of each product.

This part is an extension of the bullet points, which enables store owners to dive deeper into the characteristics of each product. Here, you should take the chance to explain the working mechanism, functions, as well as any noticeable merits.

The more comprehensive your texts are, the easier it is to convince potential shoppers to take action.

Add suitable photos

Imagery helps illustrate a listing and offers customers valuable insights about the product they are currently viewing. Currently, Amazon leaves enough space for businesses to upload 9 photos maximum to a listing, including one primary and eight secondary.

For the former, go for a front shot that shows the most seeable angles. As far as the rest is concerned, you should add a back shot, a detail shot, a step-by-step instruction, a before-after (if your product requires an assembly), and even a video.

In most cases, it would be ideal to use a white background in all photos so the product and its features can stand out.

Strengthen the keywords

Keywords are what determine the visibility of your listing. Even when you do not intend on running Amazon ads, it does not kill to put them in relevant terms, as they would boost your ranking higher on the search result page. So what are some highly recommended tactics for keyword optimization?

  • Backend keywords: These are not visible to Amazon users, but the algorithms still take backend keywords into account when calculating the quality of your landing page. Common phrases that usually belong here are misspellings, variations, and names of similar products.
  • Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords do not offer the highest search volume, but they are strong intent. Including a few long-tail keywords makes it easier for your product to appeal to a specific section of customers.

Take advantage of upselling

Upselling
Upselling is the way of persuading customers to buy more than what they intended in the first place.

Upselling is the art of persuading customers to buy more than what they intended in the first place. There are multiple ways in which you can increase the value of each order on Amazon. The most common tactic is to make related items visible when customers reach the “Add to basket” stage. For the best results, you should pick out anything that can complement the benefits of the original product but is significantly less expensive.

For example, your Amazon store focuses on selling smartphones. To upsell this line of products successfully, consider adding phone holders, phone cases, or pop sockets.

These items are capable of optimizing the user experience while costing only a few more dollars. Consequently, shoppers are more inclined to buy the whole package.

 

Conclusion

Increasing the revenue of an Amazon business is no piece of cake. Suppose you are well-equipped to handle everything on your own, then good for you. But if not, do not hesitate to contact Olifant Digital and explore what the professionals have in store.

Here, rest assured that the agency is more than willing to provide you with detailed instructions on maximizing the conversion rate and maintaining the performance in the long run!

 

The Importance of Floor Mats for Cars

Cars benefit greatly from having a reliable set of floor mats in place to protect the interiors from the attrition of the outside. From dirt and sand, mud and snow, floor mats on the car can keep any of these destructive elements in one place. They even provide a sense of balance when on the roads.  

But floor mats are supposed to be exposed to dirt and dust and other elements. Therefore, they are prone to damage far faster than most other car goods. But you can extend the longevity and value of your floor mats by choosing items of improved quality.  

Finding the right floor mat for your truck or car is easy and fun. Here is what you need to know about making the best selection for your VW Polo.  

 

Carpets 

Tufted carpets floor mats for cars are often made of polypropylene, nylon, and other durable synthetic fibers. On the reverse side, you will find non-slip rubber grips that keep the floor mats sturdily in place. 

The great thing about carpets is that they can be tailor-made to your personal needs and style. When it comes to the style and design that car owners are looking for, there are virtually unlimited options available. Furthermore, the vast availability of this product does much to keep the prices at an affordable low.  

Of course, these carpets will always gather dirt and mud very quickly as this is their purpose. A well-designed floor mat will actually be designed to collect and hold dirt until it is properly cleaned and can release all contaminants.  

But carpet floor mats are the best option for cars that will not be driven daily or regularly. They are best reserved for a finer car that will never see much dust or dirt on the interior. Furthermore, they are an aesthetically pleasing option and only a good investment for those with aesthetics on their mind.  

Car
Inside look of a car from back seat perspective of view

Rubber 

Rubber floor mats are made of a thick rubber designed and crafted to withstand rough treatment and all types of damage from rocks, mud, and dirt. Therefore, they are also very easy to clean, simply hose them down and in just a few minutes they will be dry enough to be returned to their position. Because rubber is an especially long-lasting material, rubber floor mats are also especially long-lasting even under the harshest treatment. You will notice that these rubber floor mats typically feature long grooves that make them weather-resistant and non-slip.  This is something you will notice in all VW Polo mats.  

But the only downside to rubber floor mats is that they are not available in such a wide range of design options and don’t do much to improve the aesthetics of the car in one way or another, other than simply looking like high-performance top-quality floor mats. If these floor mats are left in the sun for too long, they will begin to crack and they also can become slick when wet or oily.  

For cars that will be heading out for adventure and possibly hard work, there is no better option than a rubber floor mat. If you have to transport rowdy passengers who will potentially throw their food and drinks around, rubber floor mats would also be a good option for you.

Buy your VW Polo mats here for an aesthetically pleasing interior that is protected.

 

Reasons Not to Avoid Estate Planning

Despite a seemingly fancy title, estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. In all actuality, the term ‘estate” might not even mean what you think it does. At the end of the day, deciding who’ll inherit your belongings is a massive decision and a critical part of the actual planning. Intelligent estate planning will assist with protecting families that have young children while also keeping your heirs from needing to pay too much on inheritance taxes. The fact of the matter is that without it, you don’t get to choose who gets what. Let’s take a closer look.

Protect Your Beneficiaries

One way to ease your mind about passing on might be to make sure your beneficiaries are protected. Life insurance is one way to do this, and the insurance premium you’ll have to pay doesn’t need to be too expensive, which makes this an ideal solution. When the inevitable happens, the insurance will provide your beneficiaries with funds to cover your final expenses and to give them a bit of a cushion – especially if you happened to be the primary earner.  

Young Children

Naturally, nobody wants to consider the possibility of dying at an early age, especially people who have young children. But it happens. If you pass away early in your life, what happens to your kids? You have to secure your child’s future. This means you need to be prepared for anything.

To do this, you need to have a will, which is an element of estate planning. In the will, you’ll designate who’ll take care of any children under the age of 18 and what they’ll inherit when they reach legal adulthood. Without this document, the courts decide these critical matters.

State’s Will

Testament
Testament is composed using a pencil to write down the last will

Whether you know it or not, the state you live in already has a default will for those who don’t have one themselves. This is referred to as an intestacy statute. The thing is, this will rarely distribute your assets in a way that you’d desire. Having a valid will ensures this never happens. 

Conservators

Not only is it possible to name a guardian for your children, but you also need to think about naming a guardian for your estate. This is called a conservator. This person is responsible for managing any assets that you’ve designated for your children to inherit. They’ll ensure that your wishes are followed and can even allow your designated beneficiary to bypass the process of probate, which can be rather pricey.

Avoid Family Drama

Surely, you’ve heard of (or seen on TV) families fighting over who gets what after someone dies. It happens quite often, actually, and surely you don’t want this for your family members if something happens to you. As part of your estate planning, you choose a person to be in charge of things once you die, or even if you become incapacitated mentally before you pass away. You’ll also choose who you want to get your belongings to — and when. This can help keep family members from fighting over your assets and even going to court over them.

Estate planning is vital for your family’s future. If you choose to leave anything for your loved ones, you’ll need to have quite a comprehensive plan for it. It should specify who gets what so that it isn’t left up to the courts. Without a plan of this nature, your family might be facing the burden of going to court, paying copious amounts of taxes for their inheritance, and might not even have any say over what happens to any minor children. 

 

Parents Partying Like It’s 1999

If you’re a parent right now, that reference probably really makes sense to you. Ah, the nineties and aughts, what a time to be alive and not yet have created your own people. But, maybe you did have a young child in 1999, and now they’re finally old enough to get out of dodge for the weekend. Perhaps they’re on Spring Break. Maybe they’ve planned an epic camping trip with friends. No matter why they’re out of the house, they are out of the house – time to celebrate! 

Of course, you’re going to miss them and worry about how they’re doing while they’re away from you, but what better way to distract from that worry than by throwing a get-together with your friends and loved ones? So, start googling “DJs near me,” and let us get this party started quickly, right?

How To Plan The Party Of The Century When The Kids Are Away

If the kids going out of town didn’t leave you with a ton of notice, absolutely throw caution to the wind and send a group text invite to all your favorite people – make haste! Forget a theme. Forget a dress code and a menu. Now is the time to seize the day! So, order a bunch of pizza, run to the ABC store and the grocery store and create the charcuterie board of the century. As far as music goes, you can go with a premade playlist off any streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify, and you should be good to go. 

Maybe though, you had some time to plan; if that’s the case, the sky (or your budget) is the limit. When planning parties, it’s always a great idea to have a theme in mind; that way, when your guests get their invites, they have a general idea of what to expect they’re walking into when they arrive at this kid-free party. If you want to do something black tie, you could even go so far as to hire caterers and servers for the event – and never forget the bartender. They set the mood in more ways than one. 

Consider The Venue 

Maybe you don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up and restoring your home to its pre-kid vacation state before the kids get back. After all, the whole point is enjoying your time to relax and unwind with loved ones without your usual responsibilities hanging over your head. If this sounds appealing to you, consider renting a venue. The choice is yours – hotel event hall, a club you fancy, a beach, it’s entirely up to you. The main bonus here is (with the exception of the beach) you don’t have to worry about cleaning up afterward, and it’s often worth the cost to have someone do that for you, so you can enjoy the party as much as your guests do!

Feeding Frenzy 

Food
Delicious food is served at the home party

Let’s face it – we’re all adults here – one of the most exciting things about walking into an adult event is the promise of delicious food that keeps us somewhat sober while we’re mingling and dancing the party away. So, whether you decide to hire a caterer, order off of Grubhub or turn it into a potluck, everyone gets to enjoy Janice’s famous spinach & artichoke dip. Make sure you’ve got plenty of food for everyone attending. Let’s include drinks in this section too. Make sure you’ve got several options of drinks for everyone in attendance; this goes without saying. Additionally, there may be (and likely will be) several people in attendance that live a sober lifestyle, so accommodate them as well with flavored waters, sodas, and anything else you think they’d like. 

Music Matters (A Lot)

We may not be as cool as we thought we were in our twenties, but now that we’re parents, we know what we like, and we like it a lot! Let loose with some seriously good music. Music sets the tone for everything at your epic party – so think such amazing nineties throwbacks all the way to the newest Justin Bieber or Drake album. Everyone loves to let loose when they’re spending time away from their children, and not only is dancing incredibly fun, it’s also a great way to stay in shape, so it’s a win-win for everyone!

Just like they told you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” when you became a parent, I’m telling you now to “play while the kids play.” So, if you’re lucky enough to get an entire weekend or even just the night, take advantage of it and throw whatever version of a “rager” is to you. You won’t regret it, and most importantly, you deserve it!

 

 

Best Home Improvement Blogs to Follow

Home improvement sounds like a pretty intimidating thing, but it really isn’t. Contrary to what you might believe and what’s shown on TV, home improvement can range from just getting a new vase or painting an accent wall in the bedroom to a massive renovation project with a big budget. 

Any good home improvement blog covers all these topics, and its goal is to make you realize that home improvement is very much within your reach. Not only is it their job to give you new ideas and suggestions on what to do, but it’s also their job to make sure you know exactly how to pull it off. 

Keep reading to find out about some of the best home improvement blogs that will make you feel like your new project is no big deal! 

1. HomeZada

Are you ready to discover strategies to save money, save time, and be better organized in managing your largest financial asset and biggest expense, your home? Are you managing one or multiple homes and struggling with the best tools to manage these properties? HomeZada provides homeowners with a complete digital home management system. This includes offering a secure, cloud-based solution to track a home inventory, a home maintenance calendar, managing home improvement projects, storing important documents, and understanding total homeownership costs with home finances. When you know more about your home, you can make the best decisions for your family, your home health, and your personal finances.

HomeZada also provides our partners in insurance, lending, real estate, and homebuilding the ability to stay connected to their customers in a new educational format by being present inside HomeZada during a time when homeowners need exactly what they need to manage their homes. This enables these organizations to engage, retain and gain net new customers.

2. Box Construction 

logooo

Box Construction is the premier general and remodeling contractor serving clients in the Temecula and Murrieta areas including Wildomar, Menifee, and Lake Elsinore among other surrounding communities. Their core focus is home remodeling and room addition. They specialize in kitchens, baths, and ADUs.

3. TONA

TONA is an international sanitary ware brand that advocates advanced sanitary ware culture and is known for its superb German craftsmanship and unique cutting-edge design. TONA’s design is inspired by natural elements, pursuing the design concept of “Less is more”.The brand logo of the European daisy, which has a fresh temperament, and exquisiteness, reflects the brand’s vigor and vitality. TONA began as a manufacturer of German-style bathroom furniture, after nearly 20 years gradually grew into a global bathroom furniture brand merchant. The main products are bathroom furniture sets, bathtubs, smart toilets, and shower enclosures.

4.  Imagineer Remodeling

Imagineer Remodeling is a Southern California-based full-service home remodeling company. We specialize in complete home remodeling, renovation, and design services for every room of your house. Your imagination is the basis of our inspiration and the cornerstone of an exceptional yet functional design. By providing you with a one-stop remodeling center, we handle every stage of your project, from your vivid concept to a professionally crafted design and completion. We work directly with designers and manufacturers to cut out the middleman and offer you the best prices, quality, and customer service.

Selling Your Home? Here Are Five Ways To Make Things Go More Smoothly

Selling your home is a stressful and emotional time. You are probably in the middle of buying somewhere new, and you are saying goodbye to somewhere that may have a lot of special memories. It is also a process that can be long, complicated, and costly. Here are some tips to help things go more smoothly.

 

Start Preparing Now

Put your home on the market as early as possible. Remember that the process takes time and rushing may lead to accepting a lower price. Ask yourself if you can wait out property market trends. Shop around for the best real estate agent. Get multiple quotes on what you should be asking for. Give yourself room to maneuver in the price but be firm on the lowest offer you would consider.

 

Think About When You’re Selling

Consider the season carefully and what people will be looking for. Focus on the yard, green space, and exterior in the summer. Remember that surface-level issues may be more visible in bright sunlight. Think about how you could make your yard bright and enticing to boost the curb appeal of your home when selling in winter. Get your heating and insulation working to boost your chances of winter home selling. Take photos of your home for listing sites that best showcase your home regardless of the weather.

 

Put Yourself In The Buyers’ Shoes

Ask yourself what your priorities would be when buying a home. Work on the areas that often cause problems for new homeowners, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and lounge. Avoid undertaking any major new work while your home is available for viewing. Focus on making your home clean and tidy. Hire a professional cleaner to conduct a deep clean of your entire house before you allow viewings. Start getting rid of non-essential items and clear as much space as you can. 

 

Spend Money To Make Money

Invest in repairs and updates to your property that will attract buyers. See if your boiler or heater needs an upgrade. Upgrade to double glazing and better insulation. Spend money on fixes and updates that you can show off, such as new appliances, tiling, and new guttering. 

 

Remember That It’s A Long Process

Hourglass
An hourglass is measuring the time

Prepare yourself for several failed attempts at selling. Find a real estate agent who has a good track record for chasing leads. Be firm on your price and know when the time is right to tell the buyer to keep looking. Remember that new COVID-19 strains will affect the market. Gather as much information as you can about your property and prepare for a long list of questions. Stay up to date with the latest changes in the property market so you can adjust your price accordingly.

Top 3 Functional Medicine Tests You Should Request for Optimum Health

Taking the usual lab tests can give you an overview of your body’s current status. However, if you really want to know what your body is saying, you need tests that can take a deeper look into what your body is telling you.

Functional medicine testing has grown in popularity for its ability to pinpoint specific problems. From sleep problems to issues with stress, the tests can help identify the root causes of illnesses and solve them.

If you aren’t sure which specific ones your doctor should be requesting, below is an overview of the three most recommended functional medicine tests you should have on your list.

 

1. DUTCH Test

The Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones Test, commonly known as the DUTCH test takes a closer look at your body’s production of sex hormones, including their metabolites, patterns, and distributions. This gives your health care providers a clearer view of the hormone pathway in your body.

This comprehensive test is ideal for both men and women. It helps diagnose stress issues, sleep problems, estrogen dominance, DHEA levels, and fertility issues.

It measures the following hormones:

  • DHEA
  • Cortisol
  • Estradiol
  • Cortines
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Testosterone
  • Melatonin
  • Progesterone

The test involves the collection of a small amount of urine from filtered paper. The collection is done about four times a day.

To prepare for the test, you’ll be advised to avoid fava beans, avocado, and banana within two days of your first collection. If you take supplements like L-Dopa, Tyrosine, Quercetin, and Mucuna, it’s a good idea to skip them as well.

The timing for collection varies. For postmenopausal women, you can collect your specimen any day. However, if you are a premenopausal woman with a regular cycle, you should start collecting between the 19th and 22nd days of a 28-day cycle. You can find out more about the proper collection time by talking to your clinician.

The DUTCH test is sensitive enough to pick up the different levels of estrogen in your body. This makes it better than other single tests that involve the collection of blood and saliva. 

Once your test results are analyzed, you may be given herbs, supplementations, or low-dose bio-identical hormones to help correct abnormalities. You may also be given recommendations on the adjustments you need to make in your lifestyle. The list includes changes in your stress management, nutrition, sleep, and exercise.

 

2. GI Map Test

This stool test can help detect the underlying cause of your digestive issues. If you frequently suffer from reflux, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating, taking it should help optimize your digestive health.

Apart from people who have digestive problems, the GI Map Test is also ideal for those who experience chronic fatigue, mood disorders, skin conditions, autoimmune problems, and hormonal imbalances.

Compared with other stool tests, this one works through the use of the PCR analysis technique. It’s what makes it possible for the test to determine the presence of multiple bacteria, fungi, and parasites using just one stool sample.

The GI MAP Test is approved by the FDA. In fact, it’s the only stool test to get such approval.

And the best part about it is that it’s safe and easy to do. You can actually do it in your home. You’ll be able to get the results within 10 to 15 days in your email.

The GI test checks a wide number of markers that are important for your gut health. It includes:

  • Secretory IgA- your gut’s first line of defense
  • Calprotectin- measures your gut’s inflammation
  • Gliadin IgA- a marker of food intolerance
  • Zonulin- shows intestinal permeability
  • Steatocrit- reflects the level of fat absorption

In addition to those markers, the test also checks for parasitic pathogens, normal bacterial flora, and other opportunistic bacteria.

Now, why is this test important?

Your digestive health has a huge effect on the amount of nutrition your body is able to absorb. Getting fewer nutrients means having less fuel for your body to function properly.

 

3. Organic Acids Test

Organic acids refer to the chemical compounds that mammals excrete through their urine. They are considered products of metabolism.

Several genetic disorders happen when there’s a production of inefficient enzymes that react at an abnormally usual rate. This results in the accumulation of metabolic intermediates.

The OAT or Organic Acids Test gives you a better view of your overall health by checking more than 70 metabolites. Taking it means giving your healthcare provider a more in-depth view of every system in your body.

It’s a good idea to take the test if you experience any of the following:

  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation
  • Weight gain
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Dermatitis
  • Bloating
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis

Taking the test is quite easy, in fact so easy it is a great test for both kids and adults to do. All you need to do is collect about 10mL of your first-morning urine. To ensure accuracy, you need to do the collection before eating or drinking.

Additionally, you should also refrain from eating grapes, apples, cranberries, and pears within 48 hours before collecting your urine.

You should also refrain from taking reishi mushrooms, echinacea, and arabinogalactan.

OAT can help uncover several health issues like metabolic dysfunctions. Some examples include ketosis, inborn errors of metabolism, insulin resistance, and amino acid deficiency.

The test can also show if you have inflammatory bowel disease, candida overgrowth, or gut dysbiosis.

Although the test is quite accurate, it won’t mean anything if you don’t have a skilled interpreter. The research on organic acids is fairly new so you should look for clinicians that have a deep knowledge of the test and organic acids in general.

 

Final Thoughts

A health worker is working with test tubes

These three tests are just a part of the long list of functional medicine tests you can take to get a clearer view of your health. If you feel that those tests aren’t enough or if you’re not sure which ones you need, you always have the option to talk to a reliable functional doctor.

Functional medicine practitioners are capable of recognizing your uniqueness and how factors like genetics and environment can affect your individual bodily ecosystem. It’s important that you find the right clinician so you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

How to Look After Your Mental Health?

Mental health is a much-discussed topic in today’s time. With the increase in the suicide rate every year, professionals are focussing on bringing on awareness to maintaining good mental health. Just like your physical health, you need to work on your mental health to remain mentally fit. Here are a few tips that will help you stay mentally fit.

 

1. Keep Active:

Regular exercise can actually help release happy hormones named endorphins, which will elevate your mood. Also, it increases your self-esteem and makes you feel better, which will result in significant improvements in your mental health.

2. Talk About Your Feelings:

This is really important, especially if you are facing some stress in life. People find it tough to share their personal issues with their friends and family out of shame. This practice needs to stop, and awareness needs to be spread. If you share your feelings, you will feel lighter, and also your family will help you see through the tough times and come out stronger.

3. Eat Well:

Your body needs all nutrients to stay healthy overall. This includes brain activity too. This is why maintaining a balanced diet to remain physically and mentally fit is essential. Stay away from fad diets that may help you reduce weight but also make you mentally weak.

4. Keep in Touch:

The pandemic has imposed social distancing, which has made it challenging for people as we humans are social creatures. This only means you may feel isolated and mentally low. Make use of technology to stay in touch with your friends and family to always feel cheerful.

5. Ask for Help:

It is never too late to ask for help. Do not feel overwhelmed to do that. There are helplines and support groups that will help you through your situation. It will also ensure that you do not fall into major depression and give you the mental strength to move past your pain.

6. Take a Break:

A change of scene can help your mental health. Always work, and no payment is terrible for your mind. This is why you must take vacations to get a break from your work at least after every three months, which will also help in increasing your productivity when you get back. Apart from that, you should also take short breaks in between your work to just stretch and relax your mind before you get back to your job.

7. Sleep Well:

Sleep is one of the most critical parameters that can decide your mental health. People who do not get adequate sleep can be stressed, and the stress, in turn, will not let them sleep well. You need to break this vicious cycle by getting yourself a comfortable mattress from the mattress store Miami FL. Once you start sleeping well, you will be able to get rid of many mental issues and prevent physical illness.

The Bottom Line:

Your fitness level is defined based on both your physical and mental health levels. Hence, adopt a lifestyle that can keep you fit overall, which will help you lead a healthy, happy, and long life.